Skype for Business is a so-called unified communications (UC) platform, server-based software that provides employees with a number of effective ways to communicate and collaborate with each other, and that usually also includes a VoIP/PBX system that’s capable of serving as a business’s primary phone system.
Its benefits include increased employee effectiveness and productivity, increased visibility and control for managers, easier-to-manage and more secure and compliant communications systems, and lower phone bills and reduced travel costs.
Its features include:
- Instant messaging
- Presence (a feature that displays the availability of your colleagues—whether they’re available, away, or busy)
- Audio and video conferencing with up to 10,000 simultaneous participants
- User-to-user file transferring
- Screen sharing
- Application and desktop sharing (which allows multiple users to use the same application or desktop at the same time)
- PSTN calling (which allows you to call real phone numbers)
- Built-in PBX, including call forwarding, call waiting, and voicemail
- Centralized archiving of all instant messages
Skype for Business lets employees stay connected with both colleagues and customers no matter where they’re located or what device they have with them. That’s because they can access Skype for Business from anywhere with any compatible, Internet-connected device, including any Windows or Mac PC, Android, iOS, or Windows Phone mobile device, or VoIP phone.
Skype for Business can be deployed either onsite or in the cloud. Here’s why we would recommend deploying in the cloud:
You may not have to set it up or manage it yourself. Many cloud providers will set up your hosted Skype for Business deployment for you for a small fee, or they’ll at least offer you assistance with the setup process. Many providers also offer managed Skype for Business deployments, which means that they’ll monitor, protect, update, back up, and support them so you don’t have to.
It’s more secure. Cloud providers can afford to protect their hosted solutions with advanced security measures such as enterprise-level firewalls, 24x7x365 monitoring, IDS/IPS, and gateway antivirus, as well as physical security measures at their datacenters such as biometric access panels, closed-circuit video cameras, and server cages.
It’s more reliable. Most cloud providers implement advanced downtime prevention measures such as 24x7x365 system and network monitoring; redundant IT hardware, Internet, and electrical power; geographically-separated datacenters; and uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) and diesel generator power backups.
It’s compliant with regulations like HIPAA and SOX. For an additional fee, cloud providers can customize their hosted solutions so that they’re compliant with IT-related regulations like HIPAA and SOX.
Skype for Business used to be called Microsoft Lync. Microsoft purchased Skype, the popular IM and video conferencing application, in 2011. It rebranded Lync as Skype for Business in 2015 and incorporated Skype’s familiar interface and other features into the software.
To sign up for cloud-hosted Skype for Business, or to migrate an existing onsite deployment of Skype for Business or Microsoft Lync, contact your preferred cloud provider.